Monte’s Old-School Gowanus Italian Given Rebirth

By , 2 June, 2011, No Comment

image via Brooklyn Paper

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About six years ago, some friends took us to dinner at Monte’s. Back then, it was a fly in amber, memories of a time when Sammy Davis Junior held court and goodfellas dined on piles of veal parmigiana and spaghetti from overladen trays. It was one of those dinners I’ll remember more as a destination than a meal. And then, all of a sudden, it closed its doors last year. So what a nice surprise to see the phoenix rising from the ashes, as it were. Seems husband and wife Dominick and Tina Castelvetre are reviving the restaurant as a more modern Italian haunt. Gone are the vintage phone booth and chandelier, but don’t worry, the ricotta cheesecake is staying the same. According to the Brooklyn Paper:

That means updated interiors that resist kitsch with sage green and exposed brick walls — and the gigantic murals of Venice have been replaced with vintage Brooklyn street maps, wrought iron sconces, and the occasional pizza paddle.
“We kept what we could, like the old bar,” said Castelvetre. “We just gave it a new marble countertop. The tables got a new base. The red booths aren’t original, but we kept the look the same. Everything else needed to be gutted — it was all rotted through.”
The most striking aspect of the renovation is an entirely open kitchen, where patrons can watch pizzaiolo John Censullo shuttle thin crusted pies from a massive wood-burning pizza oven.

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The chef, Christian Sbordi, formerly of The Rainbow Room/Cipriani’s and Le Caprice, is promising modern grub with an affordable price tag. Think lamb meatballs with ricotta, sherry onions, cauliflower and sesame cream; pasta with wild boar ragu and parmagiano foam; and sesame-crusted tuna with caponata and saba. So go on, check it out at 451 Carroll St. between Third Avenue and Nevins Street. This ain’t your uncle’s Gowanus.

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